Specialist Experience and Skills
I am a qualified teacher with 14 years’ experience. I have worked in both mainstream and specialist SEN settings and across all primary key stages. I have worked as an English Lead where I had joint responsibility for children's progress in English in a six-form entry primary school, across two sites. Whilst in the post, I observed lessons, modelled lessons, coached staff, scrutinised data and planning, and devised a system for assessing progress throughout the school. I had responsibility for leading phonics including the year one screening and ensured scores were consistently above bo... Read More
I am a qualified teacher with 14 years’ experience. I have worked in both mainstream and specialist SEN settings and across all primary key stages. I have worked as an English Lead where I had joint responsibility for children's progress in English in a six-form entry primary school, across two sites. Whilst in the post, I observed lessons, modelled lessons, coached staff, scrutinised data and planning, and devised a system for assessing progress throughout the school. I had responsibility for leading phonics including the year one screening and ensured scores were consistently above both the National average and Borough average. I have also delivered many workshops for school staff, trainee teachers at Roehampton and for parents to ensure that they were able to support their children effectively at home.
I worked as an Early Years SEND Advisory Teacher for two London Boroughs. In this role I was able to ensure children made accelerated progress by providing advice and coaching to maintained nursery teachers and school SENCo's on effective inclusion of children with SEND on topics such as early identification, effective teaching and use of intervention strategies. I successfully supported school staff teams by modelling strategies, providing written reports, providing support to monitor children’s progress and apply for funding where appropriate.
Games are a great way to motivate children to rehearse skills such as letter formation that require repetition to gain fluency. Using a timer, for example, can turn a mundane task into a game. Encouraging children to beat their own score can help motivate children and add an element of competition without putting a strain on their self-esteem. It also helps children take ownership of their own performance. I have many years of supporting children with organisation and time management. Building a strong working relationship is key as is encouraging children to be as independent as possible. Encouraging children to recognise their strengths and use them effectively to maximise their own learning is empowering and motivating.
My Experience of Working with Children with Dyslexia: I have worked with children of all age groups who have struggled to acquire literacy skills. Consequently, I have lots of experience dealing with children who struggle with self-esteem due to finding reading, writing, and spelling extremely challenging. Equally, I have worked for many years as an Early Years Teacher, ensuring that children get the best possible start to their journey to become literate. As an English Lead in an Outstanding 6 form entry school, it was my responsibility to ensure that appropriate intervention was provided for individuals and groups of children to make accelerated progress. I have always loved developing strategies and finding solutions to target areas of literacy acquisition that dyslexic students typically find challenging such as developing phoneme/grapheme correspondence (linking sounds to letters), reading, spelling, issues with handwriting, comprehension, memory, auditory memory etc.
Perhaps the most valuable experience I have to offer, is that I am the mother of a child with Dyslexia. This experience has given me the dogged determination, creativity, and empathy needed to make a real difference.
My skills and experience supporting students to develop their independence: I am convinced that encouraging independence is the most effective way to build self esteem. Having worked as a Reception Teacher for many years I am well used to training children to become independent learners. A good teacher will always be able to highlight the small steps that children have taken towards their goal and provide encouragement and instruction on how to move to the next step.
My Experience of Teaching English: Phonics and Reading: As an experienced teacher with 14 years’ experience both in mainstream and in specialist settings and across all key stages, I have had the privilege of teaching hundreds of children how to read and write. As an English Lead/Phonics Lead, I was responsible for ensuring that gaps in children’s knowledge were addressed. I love teaching phonics and have designed and delivered many workshops for teachers and parents including designing and delivering training at Roehampton. Spelling: I believe that learning spellings can and should be fun. Success can be achieved through the systematic development of a child’s phonemic awareness and providing training in how to use strategies involving their sensory system. This winning combination provided children in my year 3 intervention groups to score just as highly (in many cases more highly) than their compatriots in the rest of the year group in their weekly age-appropriate spelling tests. Handwriting: Handwriting is an extremely complex skill. It is vital that children have achieved all prerequisite skills such as core strength, shoulder, hand and finger strength and visual discrimination to name but a few. A carefully designed programme of games and multisensory activities can result in children successfully acquiring these skills.
My Experience of Teaching Maths: I have taught Maths across all Primary key stages. I believe children learn Mathematical concepts best when lessons are presented in a logical sequence and they are given plenty of opportunity to engage with practical resources so they can discover links for themselves. Consequently, they are much more likely to remember what they have learnt. Games are a great way to practise skills and build speed, automaticity and confidence.
My Experience of Working with Children with Anxiety: As we all experience the world differently through our senses it is vital to build a strong, supportive relationship with learners so that they feel able to share their experiences with their teacher. By knowing how each individual is affected by their environment I have been able to reduce their stress and maximise their learning.
My Experience of Supporting Children’s Self Esteem: I particularly enjoy the challenge of changing children’s perceptions of themselves as learners and their ability to acquire literacy skills. Many of the children I have worked with have come to me with a long history of struggle to acquire literacy skills. I have turned learners’ perceptions around by forming good, honest relationships with them. The first step is to listen to what they find difficult and why. The next step is to find solutions and provide students with a clear and honest road map of how to improve their skills. Ensuring that learners know what will be involved allows them to take ownership of their learning. Regularly providing learners with solid evidence of progress is very motivating and improves self-esteem.
My Experience of Working with Children with Language and Communication difficulties: I was extremely fortunate to receive extensive training from a wide range of professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists and Portage training whilst taking part in a DfE funded project focused on strategies to support children with SEND particularly ASD. It was particularly useful for supporting early communication including developing play and joint attention. My experience as an English/Phonics Lead provided me with the opportunity to work with children who experienced difficulty with articulation and sound discrimination.
My experience providing fun sessions to help students engage in learning: Learning should always be fun. To keep the fun alive I ensure that all lessons are well-paced and interactive. Games are a great way of practising skills such as handwriting or spellings. I always try to incorporate children's individual interests to ensure they remain engaged and enjoy learning.
My Experience of Providing Play Based Learning: As I have been a Reception Teacher for many years, I know that play is vital to children’s development. It provides a means for them to explore concepts and develop skills such as problem solving, independence and social skills. The best part is that children don’t even believe that they are learning.
My Experience of Working with Children with ASD: I was employed as an Early Years SEND Advisory Teacher for two outer London Borough where I received extensive training from a wide range of professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Educational Psychologists, including Portage training. I was able to ensure children made accelerated progress by providing advice and coaching to maintained nursery teachers and school SENCo's on effective inclusion of children with SEND on topics such as early identification, effective teaching and use of intervention strategies. I have made good use of my training and experience in this role to support children I have taught in mainstream.
My Experience of Working with Children with ADD/ ADHD: As with all learners, I have found that ensuring that my lessons are well paced, fun, and exciting with a range of different activities and games is the most effective way to support children who struggle with concentration. Many children with ADD/ADHD need opportunities to practise skills and overlearn concepts to help them transfer what they’ve learnt from their short-term memory to their long-term memory.
My Experience of Working with Children with Sensory Processing Issues: My dissertation focused on sensory processing and as it is a subject that I find fascinating, I have ensured that my knowledge in this area is always up to date. Focussing on this subject so early on in my career provided me with an excellent foundation on which I could build my classroom practice. I can honestly say that I used the knowledge gained from this research every day in my teaching career both in mainstream and special needs settings. The impact of providing the correct sensory experience at the right time is phenomenal.
My Experience of Working with Children with Global Developmental Delay: Whilst working as an Early Years SEND Advisory Teacher for 2 London Boroughs, I was very fortunate to receive Portage Training. This training has been invaluable to me as a teacher in supporting children with GDD to break down certain skills into small, easily taught steps. By working closely with parents and involving them in the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle, I have ensured that appropriate, manageable targets for children have been identified and achieved. This has not only maximised children’s progress but provided children and their families with a sense of empowerment.
My Experience of Supporting Homework: Although my 3 children are grown now, I vividly remember how hectic it was trying to complete homework tasks. As a teacher, I understand how hard children work in schools and how much effort it takes to complete tasks set. I can help by breaking tasks down into small manageable chunks, finding the fun in the activity and keeping children on task. Supporting children to successfully complete homework provides a fantastic opportunity to change a child’s mindset and re-frame how they see themselves by focussing on the positives and the progress.
My Experience of Working with Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (Dyspraxia): I have many years of experience of working with students of all ages who struggle with the planning, sequencing, and coordinating of both fine motor and gross motor movements. Even in Early Years, children are expected to perform many tasks that require these skills. For example, they are required to dress themselves after PE, line up with their peers, begin to hold a pencil or paintbrush to name but a few. It is vital that children who encounter problems in this area, receive lots of support and understanding to prevent loss of self-esteem as being unable to carry out these tasks can be a very public affair. Older children with DCD may have problems with organising or sequencing tasks (needed for playing games) handwriting, PE or they may have problems with visual discrimination.
My interest in this area began when I carried out research for my dissertation on sensory processing. I have used this research, together with strategies learnt from Occupational Therapists whilst working as an Early Years SEND Advisor for 2 London Boroughs to successfully support children both in mainstream and in a special needs setting. This training has been invaluable in supporting children to develop the pre-requests necessary for academic success, such as bi-laterality, hand-eye co-ordination, proprioceptive and vestibular skills, core strength, visual discrimination, hand strength and dexterity and sequencing skills.